Saturday, February 20, 2021

Waiting on God - Key to a Peaceful Life

I think God is trying to make a point!  During a single morning this week four different sources emphasized the need to wait on God, spend time in His presence, believing that He is at work. 

First: The scripture verse of the day in the YouVersion Bible app was Psalm 40:1-2.  I particularly like the Amplified version:

"I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my path." 

David graphically describes his place of distress as 'a pit of tumult and of destruction'; contrasted with the steady rock that God set him upon.

Second: The Give Him 15 prayer devotional with Dutch Sheets delved into David's passionate return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, placing it in the tent or tabernacle with 24 hour worship.  (1 Chronicles 15 & 16. )

So great was David's desire for God's presence, his jubilant celebration in the streets of the city embarrassed his wife.  Now we who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have become the dwelling place of His presence, His great light shining in our hearts.  2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT 

Third: A dear friend is recovering from a difficult and intense surgery. Her son updated her Caring Bridge page and shared a powerful poem that reminds us to "Above all, trust in the slow work of God."

Patient Trust by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Fourth: While clearing out old e-mails, I came across a reminder to myself to listen to a powerful song by Juanita Bynum "I Don't Mind Waiting".  I encourage you to find a quiet place with a cup of tea or coffee, and take time to listen as she shares her testimony and this powerful song of encouragement.

God got my attention.  I took time, for worship, prayer and reading His Word.  I plan to take time again tomorrow, and the next day.  Regardless of how long my list tasks is. In spite of how I feel. I want to be one of those that passionately, continually waits in God's presence, before tackling the day.

How about you?  You might be in a a season of waiting - as many of us are.  Unable to pursue the activities and relationships you desire.  I encourage you to pursue the most important relationship of your life - Jesus Christ.  

Wait. Patiently. Trust.  Let Him pull you up and out of the tumult and destruction and set your feet on the Rock.

Monday, December 21, 2020

End Well To Start Strong!

 Hi Everyone,

Can you believe that we are coming to the end of another year?  It's been a difficult year for many on so many different levels.

People are winding down, closing the year out.  Thinking that if God didn't move by now,  too late, the year is over.

I want to encourage you that our God can do a lot in a few days.

He freed 3-6 million Israelites from slavery in Egypt in a single night. 

Jesus was crucified, placed in a tomb and in 3 days He was resurrected to free us from sin.

Jesus is still moving, still healing, still blessing, still reconciling, still making a way!

I'm uncertain what 2021 holds but this is what I am certain of:

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Heb. 13:8

The Lord spoke to my heart that He wants us to 'End the Year Well' so we can "Start the New Year Strong."

Let me share four quick thoughts on how we can do this.

1. Focus your attention on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 "Looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith. " AMP

We have to look away from everything that will try to distract us and look intently on Jesus. In every area of our lives, the direction we take - not our intentions, hopes, dreams, prayers, beliefs - but the direction we take ultimately determines our destiny.  We must keep the main the main thing and that is Jesus!

2. Decide who is writing your story.

Notice that Hebrews 12:2  says, He is the Author and Finisher of our life story.

Who are you allowing to write your story?  Social media, news, your past, peers, hurts, disappointments, fear, your failures?

I might not know your story or what you have gone through. But you need to believe that Jesus does know and He has purpose and destiny for you.  Allow Him to rewrite your story so you can end this year well.

3. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.

Romans 8:14 reads, "For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." AMP

Hebrews 11:8 "Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going."

Oswald Chambers said, "Faith may not know where its being led
but it loves the one doing the leading."

You and I might not know where we are being led, nor what the future holds, but we do know the One who holds our future. This is our confidence.

4. Press On!

Philippians 3:14  "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 

Marathon runners sometimes "hit the wall" at a certain mile in their race.  Fatigue, discouragement and negativity can overwhelm them.  This past year many have "hit the wall" spiritually. You have to encourage yourself the same way Paul did.   Look to the reward that is waiting for you and know that the Lord is there to help you!

Wishing you and your family a Joy-filled and Jesus-filled Christmas!  He has great things for you in 2021.

Blessings and Love - Gary & Pat




Friday, November 20, 2020

Grateful - in all things

Thailand ~ India ~ Cambodia
 Myanmar ~ Sri Lanka

While we aren't able to travel overseas at this time - we are in touch with our partners in various countries.  All are dealing with the 'usual' challenges of floods and poverty and need - which are multiplied because of the COVID restrictions.

All are moving ahead with the work of the Kingdom.

Preaching, teaching, baptizing and helping with practical needs like food and hygiene.  The most pressing need   right now might be to know that someone cares. That in the middle of life's harsh realities - we are not alone.

It's wonderful to hear (and see photos) of God at work in lives around the world.

During this season of Thanksgiving, and throughout the year,  Gary and I want you to know how grateful we are for you.  Your love, your prayers, your support, every encouraging word - it all makes an impact in our lives and the lives of those we minister to.


Our Amazing God has given each of us an Amazing life.   And the Journey Continues ~ Pat


                 

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18


Are you shopping online this year? You can support Greater Works at no extra cost to you - by shopping at Smile.Amazon.com and choosing Greater Works Unlimited as your charity.  Amazon donates a portion of their profits!  

The easiest way to get started is: a) log into your Amazon account as usual. b) click this link and follow it through to support Greater Works Unlimited.  This setting will be part of your account until you change it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

What Missions Looks Like

Jesus gave His followers their marching orders: to be His Messengers through the power of the Holy Spirit.   And then he got specific: ".... go to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”     "....preach openly the wonderful news of the gospel (Good News) to the entire human race." (Acts 1:8. & Mark 16:15 TPT)

Our mission field is wherever we are.  Look down at your feet. You are standing in your mission field!!

What a joy it has been to serve on a Short Term Mission Team at the Los Angeles Dream Center.  The love of Jesus, combined with practical help, is poured into the lives of literally thousands of people each week. It is an ongoing miracle of God's provision and faithful servants. 

I encourage you to watch the Night of Dreams Virtual Gala this Wednesday October 14th.  Simply follow this link to sign up,  watch and pray. It will encourage your heart to see what God is doing. 

Here's a pictorial overview of our week of service:

Food Trucks deliver fresh produce, dairy, meat, non-perishables and love to 21 communities each week.  

Restart: provides an outdoor classroom, Wi-Fi, laptops, breakfast & lunch plus hands on help as children & parents figure out online school. 

May you find a place of service that brings joy to your heart - wherever your journey takes you!  Pat

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Look Both Ways

'Look both ways before crossing the street, then proceed when it is safe to do so.'  Taught to children for their safety and protection,  this familiar refrain echoes in my mind when crossing a road or street.  Don’t run out without looking; without really seeing and paying attention.

So it is with God.  He gives us direction and instruction – it is our choice to listen when we hear His voice.

“.. yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:20b-21 ESV

God’s direction to Gary and I has always been "GO”.  But what if we can’t go to the places we normally would?  Like right now with most of the world shut down because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Our hearts long to go – but our plans seem to be restricted.

Our ministry partners are continuing the work God has called each of them to in their home country.  Because of your love, prayers and generous gifts we continue to support their work in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Thailand, India, and Myanmar.  

But what about us?  Look both ways.  Look behind – to where we have been.  Look forward to what God has.  Look around – where can we go?

Just 283 miles from our home in Las Vegas, in the city of Los Angeles, California, is an amazing mission work called The Dream Center.    

Their declared purpose is “… to connect broken people to a community of support by providing free resources and services that address immediate and long-term needs in the areas of homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, abuse, education and human trafficking.”

I have the privilege to 'GO' by joining a team from River of Life in East Missoula, Montana. We’ll be in the Echo Park Neighborhood of  Los Angeles Monday October 5th through Saturday October 10th. Volunteering to serve wherever they need us.  (It’s an extra personal bonus that my sister and her husband, their daughter and son-in-law, and our friend Josh are all part of this team.) 

Please keep our Dream Center team in prayer.  I expect my heart to be broken when it is exposed to hurting lives. I expect my heart to be strengthened as we are able to share the love of Jesus in practical ways that make a difference in lives that long for hope and joy.  

Gary will be holding down the fort at home, and sharing the Word at Meadows Fellowship on Wednesday evening October 14th. (live and in person)

The Journey Continues ~ Pat

The Dream Center, Echo Park
Los Angeles, California


Monday, August 10, 2020

Learning to be Content

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being  content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

In this famous passage of scripture Paul emphasizes the value of being content in every circumstance that life sends our way.  I have to admit that I am still in the learning phase, especially as it pertains to the heat of our Las Vegas summer.

Gary and I enjoyed an amazing three weeks in Montana.   It was a joy to share about our mission work as we reconnected with friends, family, ministry partners and made some new connections.  We are grateful to everyone that invited us to share and generously blessed us with their love and financial resources. 

Montana had a cool Spring with lots of rain, leaving the mountains green and lush with a light topping of snow on a few peaks.   Rivers and lakes had high water levels, which we enjoyed as friends took us out boating and fishing.

The weather was just about as perfect as we could hope for with a variety of clouds, rain and sun that never raised the temperature over 85 degrees.  Back home in Las Vegas, it is hot and dry with triple digit temperatures forecast through August.  While we are grateful for air conditioning, we can’t help longing for the fresh, cool Montana air.  

Mark your calendar for Sunday August 30th at 9 a.m. and ll a.m. Pacific Time – Gary will be speaking at Meadows Fellowship, our home church here in Las Vegas.  You can find the video link at MeadowsLV.com Gary Richards

You can also watch my recent devotional teaching on YouTube ‘God’s Got This'. 

Our prayer is that your soul experiences contentment in whatever circumstance you find yourself. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

 Learning to be content as the Journey Continues - Pat





Saturday, May 23, 2020

Escaping to Montana!

YEAH!  It's time for Pat and I to escape home seclusion, a deserted Las Vegas and head back home to Montana!

This will be our first opportunity to visit and share with our Montana family, friends and host churches about our four-month long incredible trip to Southeast Asia.

We will be flying into Missoula on Friday, June 26 and will return to Vegas on Friday, July 17.

There are a few weekday spots open for ministry.  If you would like us to come and share with your small group or church about what the Lord is doing in Southeast Asia, through "Greater Works Unlimited", please email us at gary@gwunlimited.com.  I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Here is our schedule so far:
  • Sunday, June 28 - 10:00 am at "CrossPoint Church, Corvallis, MT
        with Pastors Scot and Shelly Colwell.
  • Sunday, July 5 - 10:30 am at "Barnabas Ministry", Hamilton, MT
        with Pastor Nancy Pendergast
  • Sunday, July 12 - 10:30 am at "House of Praise", Victor, MT
        with Pastors Jim and  Lorraine Andrusky
  • Thursday, July 16 - 10:00 am at "Women of Worship", Missoula, MT
        with Pastor Lorraine Andrusky.
(If you would like details on any of these meetings - just reply to this e-mail and let us know what you need)

Pat and I want to thank each of you for partnering with us through your prayers and financial gifts. We want you to know that each and everyone of you is very important to us.  Words cannot express how grateful and thankful we are for you!

We are all coming out of a difficult time, but our Jesus is still in control and He is still the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).   Pat and I have been praying for you and we believe we are all going to be better and stronger then before.  Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP) says, "For I know the thoughts I have for, says the Lord, 'plan for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Blessings on your journey with Him - Gary